KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The heart attack suffered by Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio early Sunday morning had college football coaches around the nation checking their pulse.
Their reading? Unavoidable stress and fatigue during a football season that seems to grow more pressurized every season.
"There's no doubt you wear yourself thin trying to win every game," Texas Coach Mack Brown said.
Precisely what Dantonio was doing when his call for a fake field goal resulted in a touchdown that gave the Spartans a rousing overtime victory over Notre Dame.
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About an hour after the game's conclusion, Dantonio was taken to an East Lansing hospital complaining of chest pains and by sunrise was resting after doctors performed an angioplasty.
But coaches said on Monday that a close game is only one of many high intensity moments that can make a chest feel tight.
Each coach seemed to have a list.
"The job is more pressure-packed than it's ever been," Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel said. "It's because of ESPN, because of the national sports scene, because of the Internet, because of all the instant communication out there."
But there's plenty more.
"There's a lot on your plate when you talk about the diversity of people you deal with, from high school coaches to lettermen to fans to alumni to regents to administration to faculty," Brown said. "You talk about having 130 players, and all have parents who like their kids, and only 11 can play at a time."
Not to mention the parents and kids during the recruiting process.
Michigan doctors aren't saying if Dantonio's heart attack was caused by occupational stress, but the episode triggered some somber reminders. In 2006, Northwestern Coach Randy Walker died of a heart attack at 52.
After last year's Southeastern Conference championship game, Florida Coach Urban Meyer was hospitalized for chest pains and temporarily stepped down.
Asked Monday about Dantonio, Meyer said not to rush to a conclusion.
"To think coaches are the only people dealing with blockage or whatever it is ... I just happen to think it's a high-profile position where we get a lot more attention," Meyer said.
Still, Meyer was nervous when he heard the news.
"I said, 'Oh, no,' but I made some calls and found out he was going to be all right," Meyer said.
Making health a priority during the season with proper diet and exercise isn't easy and takes some special arrangements.
Pinkel jogs three mornings a week, at 5 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and 6 a.m. on Fridays. When he can, he sneaks away from the office for 15 minutes of pushing his granddaughters around in a shopping cart at a local store.
Colorado Coach Dan Hawkins said he encourages his staff to use the weight room and hit the jogging trails. Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder said he watches practice film while on a treadmill.
"It's a 24-7 operation, not just here but everywhere," Snyder said. "It's easy to overlook a lot of things that are significant in your life, not just your health. But you have to carve out and create ways."
Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips, 47, said he tries to maintain a regular workout schedule, which includes a daily morning walk.
"You've got to try and have a little balance," he said. "It's a demanding job, but you have to make time for your family and make time to take care of yourself. I'm a competitor and I want to win, but nothing is more important than your health and family. You can't let this job ruin your life."
Still, it's not easy, even for some of the wealthiest men in college sports.
"I don't think there's any question that my health is not good during the season," Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy said.
Coaches in all sports probably need to spend more time listening to their bodies, said Murphy Grant, Kansas' director of sports medicine.
"Everyone should at least be aware of how their body is feeling," Grant said. "Sometimes your body tells you if you're doing too much, being overly fatigued and having aches and pains that haven't been there before."
Pinkel said he got similar advice from a team doctor when he was an assistant at Washington in the 1980s.
"He always said that you should work out more during the most stressful time of your year and not in the summer, when I was getting all these hours in," Pinkel said. "That's had a profound effect on me."
So did his family history. Pinkel's father had triple-bypass surgery when he was 55. Pinkel is 58.
But pressure also invigorates.
"For some reason, you thrive on it," Pinkel said. "There's a love-hate deal there. You feel like hell all Saturday waiting for the game, then you love it.
"I've not ever woke up on a Saturday morning, ever — since I've been in coaching — not feeling like I was playing the national championship game. Just like it was the most important game of my life."
Still, when Mack Brown got married, his wife, Sally, found it odd that while most of the rest of the country uses weekends to relax, coaches do just the opposite in the fall.
"She said we're about the only ones who work all weekend and have stress," Brown said.